Born in Vilsbiburg in Bavaria in 1977, the bass Wilhelm Schwinghammer began his musical training at the cathedral choir school of the Regensburger Domspatzen, where he was a member of the world famous boys' choir. He then went on to study singing with Harald Stamm at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Master classes with teachers like Kurt Moll and Marjana Lipovsek rounded off his training. He was a finalist in the 33rd German Federal Competition of 2004 in Berlin and won second prize and the Audience Prize in the singer category at the 2009 ARD Music Competition in Munich.
Under the aegis of the International Opera Studio of the Hamburg Staatsoper (2003) he sang in such productions as Giulio Cesare, Die Zauberflöte, La Traviata, Zar und Zimmermann, Die Meistersinger von Nünrberg and Evgeny Onegin. Wilhelm Schwinghammer also featured as a bass in the revival of Robert Wilson's staging of Parsifal and in John Neumeier's 30th anniversary ballet of 2004. Further roles followed in the 2005/06 season, including Tristan und Isolde (Helmsman), Tosca (Angelotti), Alcina (Melisso), La Fille du Régiment (Corporal) and Tre Sestri (Kulygin).
The opening premiere for the anniversary season of the Theater der Landeshauptstadt Kiel, broadcast live over the radio, presented Wilhelm Schwinghammer as Rocco (Fidelio), and at the Flensburg Landestheater he was Sarastro in the premiere of Die Zauberflöte, while he took the bass role in the John Neumeier ballet Christmas Oratorio at the Hamburg Staatsoper. He made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2005 alongside Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón in the role of the young Doctor Grenvil in La Traviata.
With effect from the start of the 2006/07 season, Wilhelm Schwinghammer joined the ensemble of the Hamburg Staatsoper, where his repertoire included Leporello (Don Giovanni), Colline (La Bohème), The King (Aida), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Figaro (Le nozze di Fogaro), Hermit (Der Freischütz), Lodovico (Otello), Don Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Theseus in Britten's (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Pietro (Simon Boccanegra).
2011 saw Wilhelm Schwinghammer return to Salzburg for the Easter Festival in Salome under Sir Simon Rattle (staging: Stefan Herheim) — with concert performances beforehand in the Berlin Philharmonie. In 2012, he sang in a concertante Wagner cycle of the Berlin RSB under Marek Janowski as Biterolf in Tannhäuser (with a CD recording). Back in Hamburg, he can be seen and heard as Figaro, Frank (Die Fledermaus), Sarastro, Daland and Titurel in season 2012/2013.
Wilhelm Schwinghammer is active in the operatic and concert fields with such eminent conductors as, Simone Young, Sir Simon Rattle, Nicola Luisotti, Peter Schneider, Stefan Soltesz, Manfred Honeck, Gerd Albrecht, Sir Neville Marriner, Helmuth Rilling, Marc Minkowski, Hans-Christoph Rademann and more.
He makes his debut as King Henry in Lohengrin in the summer of 2012 at the Bayreuth Festival as well as being part of a guest appearance by the festival ensemble at the Gran Teatro in Barcelona. In 2013 he makes his debut as King Marke in the new production of Tristan and Isolde at the National Opera of Washington.
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